Arsenal 2-0 Juventus: Remembering one of Highbury’s finest European nights

Arsenal's Francesc Fabregas attempts a shot on goal as Juventus' Patrick Vieira (R) looks on during

Arsenal's Francesc Fabregas attempts a shot on goal as Juventus' Patrick Vieira (R) looks on during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

On March 28, 2006, Arsenal beat Juventus 2-0 in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie. The game has gone down as one of the finest European nights at Highbury, and this is how it all happened.

Juventus' Patrick Vieira shakes hands with his former team-mates Arsenal's Thierry Henry (centre lef

Juventus' Patrick Vieira shakes hands with his former team-mates Arsenal's Thierry Henry (centre left) and Jens Lehmann (centre right) ahead of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

Having stunned Real Madrid’s Galacticos with a 1-0 win at the Bernabéu thanks to a sublime Thierry Henry goal, and then ground out a 0-0 draw in north London to advance to the last-eight, Arsene Wenger’s side were given another huge test in the form a star-studded Juve side.

The tie also provided a battle within the war as ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira returned to Highbury for the first time since his move to the Old Lady the previous summer. Understandbly, much of the pre-match focus was on his return.

The Gunners had been struggling on the domestic front without their talismanic leader as they battled rivals Tottenham for a top four spot in the Premier League, but a young Spanaird was emerging as his replacement.

Cesc Fabregas couldn’t have been built in a more different mould than Vieira. The Frenchman was tall and powerful while the 18-year-old was diminutive and vet much in the Spanish style that became increasingly prevelant as the decade went on.

Arsenal's Cesco Fabregas (C) sprints away from Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi during the UEFA Champions

Arsenal's Cesco Fabregas (C) sprints away from Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA


You may also want to watch:


But, on that night at Highbury, Fabregas brought Vieira down to size with a dominant display. Years later, Vieira would meet Fabregas and joke: “This is the kid who made me leave Arsenal.”

Despite lining up against the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Lillian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet, the Gunners were unphased as they played with verve and vigour to run the Old Lady ragged.

Most Read

The hosts controlled the game and took a deserved lead just five minutes before half-time as Robert Pires pinched the ball from Vieira deep in the Juve half and found Thierry Henry.

He fed Fabregas who had darted into the space vacated by his skipper, touching the ball away from Thuram inside the D and stroking the ball into the corner of the net. Arsenal had lift off at Highbury.

Arsenal's Alexander Hleb is challenged for the ball by Juventus' Patrick Vieira (R) during the UEFA

Arsenal's Alexander Hleb is challenged for the ball by Juventus' Patrick Vieira (R) during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

They may have been in front, but the Gunners knew a second goal would be crucial ahead of the second leg in Turin.

It came with just over 20 minutes to go as Fabregas latched onto Alexander Hleb’s pass and the 18-year-old squared for Henry to turn the ball home and round off a superb night in N5.

The clean sheet made it seven on the bounce, equalling the Champions League record and one which they would go on to break.

A 0-0 draw in Italy put Wenger’s men in the semi-final where they beat Villarreal 1-0 at home before Jens Lehmann’s heroic penalty save in Spain sent them to Paris and the final against Barcelona.

Arsenal's Robert Pires holds off a challenge from Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi (L) during the UEFA Cha

Arsenal's Robert Pires holds off a challenge from Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi (L) during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

We all unfortunately know what happened next.

The night of March 28, 2006 will go down as one of the finest in Arsenal history and one that will be remembered for many years to come. Oh how Gooners long for one of those nights again.

Arsenal's Thierry Henry celebrates scoring the second goal against Juventus during the UEFA Champion

Arsenal's Thierry Henry celebrates scoring the second goal against Juventus during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

Arsenal's Thierry Henry gets past Juventus' Patrick Vieira (L) during the UEFA Champions League quar

Arsenal's Thierry Henry gets past Juventus' Patrick Vieira (L) during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final match at Highbury, London, Tuesday March 28, 2006. Picture: David Davies/PA - Credit: PA

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus